The amount of apps and websites online for kids to access is growing daily. While parents cannot possibly be aware of everything that’s out there, it’s important for all parents to understand the risks of having their children online. In this blog, we will go over some of the main strategies to help you keep tabs on your kids’ online behaviours.
Limit Online Use to Open Areas and Have Your Kids’ Passwords
Your house, your rules. Young children should be supervised when using the computer/tablets/phones. Limit usage of internet connected devices to use in open areas where you can see their screen.
If you notice your child putting their device to sleep or turning it off when you walk in the room, be wary. Take notice and ask them what they were looking at that they didn’t want you to see. Be sure you’ve established that your children can talk to you about their online behaviours and come to you if they feel anything strange is happening or they feel uncomfortable. Communication is going to be your best tool for keeping tabs on their online behaviours.
Have their passwords. We’re not saying to login as them and constantly be looking over their shoulders. Depending on the age of your child, a reasonable amount of privacy may be healthy and needed, but if you’re suspicious or worried – you’re the parent and well within your right to have the passwords to the devices and apps that you’re likely the one providing.
Set Ground Rules for Internet Safety
- Don’t provide your personal information to anyone you don’t know personally. This includes name, phone number, email, address, school name or location, pictures, or information about your parents.
- Do not meet anyone from the internet. No matter how nice they seem. Tell your parents when someone from online is asking to meet you.
- Don’t get caught up in talking bad about people online. If you see people doing this, leave the conversation and let an adult know what’s going on. Bullying someone online can hurt just as bad as in person.
- Don’t discuss your personal problems online. If you need to talk to a friend about something that’s going on, talk to them in person. Remember that everything you write on the internet, stays on the internet for others to see.
- Be careful about the pictures you share online of yourself and other people. Remember these pictures stay online and gives everyone access to them. Only post pictures you wouldn’t mind your grandmother seeing. Once you post a video or picture online, it’s not yours anymore, other people can download it and save it.
- Make sure to set your privacy settings so people outside your friends list can’t see your pictures and posts and only add people to your social media that you know personally.
- Ask before downloading any new software (parents, do a google search and find out what the software is for before allowing them to install).
- Don’t share your passwords with anyone but your parents.
- Check with an adult before opening an email from a stranger.
- Don’t buy anything online without your parents’ permission – even if it says it’s free.
- Never assume everything you read or see on the internet is true!
Tips to Help You Manage Your Kids’ Online Activities
- Make sure if they have an account on the computer to have their password. Same with lock codes for phones or tablets.
- Setup a monitor software, like Disney Circle, to manage their screen time and the apps they are able to access.
- Set parental controls on YouTube to prevent them from watching inappropriate content
- Know how to check browser history (a history of what they’ve viewed from Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer/Edge, Firefox, etc.). If you know they’ve been on the computer and there’s no history, they’ve been deleting history.
- Check your bank accounts regularly for purchases you don’t recognize
- Have a family account for email and iTunes/Google Play that everyone accesses and set controls for in-app purchases.
- How to restrict in-app purchases on iPad and iPhone
- How to restrict in-app purchases on Android devices
- Install an ad blocker on your internet browser to prevent your child from seeing inappropriate ads.
- Have your kids use a kid-friendly browser
Really, one of the best things you can do is keep open communication with your children about what they’re doing online. Making sure they feel comfortable to come talk to you if something makes them feel uncomfortable and letting them know they won’t be in trouble if they let you know.